Aid projects that help foreign countries aren’t hard to find when well known organizations put forth the effort to help a country in need. However, solo projects organized by individuals can be a challenge and tricky to fund. But that didn’t stop cinematographer Michael Christopher from making an impact in Haiti’s educational system. In July, he made a trip to Haiti to donate his time to help school children, learn more history and work alongside the United Nation’s (U.N.) Coordination of Humanitarian office in the city Croix des Bouquets.
This isn’t Christopher’s first time in Haiti doing humanitarian work. He has been doing this for three years and first got the idea to bring school supplies children needed for school for families who couldn’t afford it. “Each time I return, my friends and others, ask why am I so committed to the children of Haiti? In my heart I have a kinsmanship with the orphaned children of Haiti, because I too was an orphan,” said Christopher.
Christopher lost his mother and father at a very young age, so his childhood was spent growing without his biological parents. “[I had] some assistance from my extended family, but I was pretty much on my own. [Except] the orphaned children in Haiti do not have backup [because] their parents have been lost to violence, disease or natural disasters,” he said.
Christopher stated that his involvement in his international work sprouted about after finding out from local Haitian Red Cross members that there was little to no aid money from American Red Cross coming into their country.
He has made an effort to collect the needed art and school supplies for the children of Institut-Le Chandelier School on his own, but now he has the backing of the U.N. and it is one step closer to his goals of social impact. “I am always pleased that I receive educational tools to accommodate all the children. It’s really heart-warming to know what love and passion can do,” he said.
While doing humanitarian work during his first trip, Christopher had a spark in curiosity to learn the history of Haiti. He then decided to make a documentary about the power of leader Henri Christophe and history behind the country. He traveled various parts of the country visiting museums, plantations and other historical sites to gain more knowledge.
“Haiti has a proud history,” Christopher said about his trip last year. “It’s a beautiful place and people should open up their mind to what the country truly is. The media portrays it, as this poverty stricken place that doesn’t have any appeal and that isn’t true. It’s just like anywhere else and has rich history.”
Learning the history of Haiti coincides with brining forth change to its society. “You have to know the history and culture of the people to relate to them,” he said. His efforts to bring change to Haiti isn’t an easy task and he still needs funds to help assist with his projects. Christopher stated he believes people should give to Haiti to help reach the people and the system of education.
“I’m very impressed with the work that Oprah and Wyclef Jean are doing for youth around the world. On a much smaller lever, I want to duplicate the same for the children of Haiti. If I’m financially able, on my next trip to Haiti I can help more children,” said Christopher.
To get in contact Christopher about information or donations email [email protected]